U.S. opposes China Telecom's bid to continue internal operations

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requested for the appeals court to reject China Telecom Corp Ltd’s bid to continue providing services in the United States, after the FCC repealed its authorization to operate.

“China Telecom has no likelihood of succeeding on its claims,” lawyers for the Justice Department and FCC wrote in a court filing posted on Wednesday, saying the firm had not addressed the evidence “and instead takes issue with the Commission’s procedure.”

China Telecom Americas was ordered on Oct. 26 by the FCC to discontinue U.S. services by early January because of national security concerns.

Providing telecommunications services in the United States for 20 years, Chinese telecom had more than 335 million subscribers worldwide in 2019, in parallel with providing services to Chinese government facilities in the United States.

As such, the FCC said China Telecom “is subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government and is highly likely to be forced to comply with Chinese government requests without sufficient legal procedures subject to independent judicial oversight.”

The FCC also noted that “The company resold mobile phone service, which gives the company access to sensitive customer information, including call detail records and metadata about communications.”

China Telecom said it must notify customers of the decision by Dec 4 and said that without a temporary stop to the FCC action it “will be forced to cease significant operations, irreparably harming its business, reputation, and relationships.”

However, the Federal Communications Commission rejected the arguments saying there is “little basis” to speculate China Telecom’s “reputation for reliable service is fatally undermined by a government order requiring it to cease providing services.”

Efforts to overturn the authorisation for China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks and its wholly owned subsidiary ComNet to provide U.S. telecommunications services, were made by the FCC in March.

It is worth mentioning that the commission voted unanimously to deny state-owned Chinese telecom firm China Mobile Ltd the right to provide U.S. services in 2019.